It’s good to be home from an important recent FTC workshop on online lead generation, which I attended with my Chief Compliance Officer and panelists Greg Gragg and Michael Ferree, two fellow board members of our exciting new LeadsCouncil – that you are invited to join. As a compliance-focused member of the Digital Performance Marketing industry for the past two decades, I very much looked forward to this event. After first breaking down all of the lead generation players and detailing exactly what is important to whom, I turned my eye to some often-misleading quotes from the Consumer Advocacy side of things.Who doesn’t find some frank feedback useful?
Some classic quotes (and my opinions on what they said) from the Consumer Advocates, many of whom paint the industry with the broad brush of misunderstanding or zealotry:
“If a prospective student submits a lead, they’ll get calls from 100s of schools”. – Not true…well most of the time.
David Halperin – Consumer Advocate Attorney
“In the for-profit school business, they use strippers as recruiters” & “If I were you, I would never enter my phone number anywhere on the Internet.” – I am sure a stripper got a job as an admission rep somewhere, but it is not the norm. Mr. Halperin appeared more interested in making a name for himself with his outrageous statements than finding workable solutions.
Jonathan Gillman – OmniAngle Technologies
“We can’t audit the internet” – Well, actually we can – we absolutely have the technology to do so. It just takes an enormous amount of time. Jonathan was overall well informed and made sense regarding his opinions and data presented on both the panels he was on.
Kim Taylor – RankU
“For Profit School lead providers are using a Ping Tree-like system to sell unsuspecting students to the highest bidder” – Not true. Most lead fees in EDU are established up front, so I’m told. Despite being a former EDU lead generator, Kim is now “anti-advertising” in the EDU space, as she now promotes “local” not-for-profit schools who do not have the budget to advertise. Her bias was obvious.
Lisa McGreevy – Online Lenders Alliance
“No member of the Online Lender Alliance, vendor, or participant can sell, pass, or distribute Social Security number or Bank Account number for any purpose other than a loan.” – A worthwhile organization promoting transparency and ethical conduct for lenders and their vendors. A review of their code of conduct would be worthwhile for anyone in this vertical. Lisa stated they try to find balance between private sector needs and privacy concerns, which is frankly the way to go about this.
Pam Dixon – World Privacy Forum
“Lead Generators are modeling zip codes to target vulnerable consumers by neighborhood” & “I don’t find it at all probable that any single company can say leads are not resold often.” – Although Pam made some valid points regarding a small segment of the industry, she paints with the overly broad brush of an organization that is agenda driven.